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Used Books Online

Updated on February 2, 2011

Over the years I have bought many used books on line. Most of them have been first editions by my favorite authors. Others have been books that are no longer in print. Still others have been books that I wanted to read, just out of curiosity. Whatever your reason, buying used books online is a great way to get the books you want.

Buying used books online is a great way to build your collection, without spending a fortune, but what do you do, when you begin to run out of shelf space? Do you build more shelves? Store them in boxes under your bed? Pass them onto friends? Or sell them again?

If you have rare or popular books that no longer interest you, selling your used books can be an excellent option.

Exchange Books

While there are many options for selling your books online, they require work. Listing the condition, deciding the price, and then hoping nothing happens along the way to upset the customer. What if the book you have to sell is widely available on the used market, and your book is torn up? What if you could just trade those books with others who wanted them?

For those looking to give books away, there are book swaps. This is like an old fashioned library sale, where everyone in the community donated books they were done with, and then came back on the big day, to buy the ones they had been longing to own. It is like that, except now you have access to books from around the world!


BookMooch is a simple to navigate site, available in a number of languages. It is designed for world-wide use, so if you are looking for a book that was printed in another country, you may be able to find it here.

BookMooch has a wish list, for books that are not currently available, but that you are sure you want. It also has a ‘save for later’ list, where you can keep track of books you are interested in, and check to see if any of them are available.

Getting books is based on a point system. You list ten books and earn one point. You give a book away, you earn a point, unless it is shipped overseas, then you earn three points. You spend one point to get a book within your own country, two points, to get one from outside of your country. You can also earn points by leaving reviews for the senders of the books you receive. BookMooch maintains a 2:1 ratio of books received to books sent.

The only cost involved is the price of shipping. You pay to ship the books you are giving away, and in turn, others pay to ship their books to you.

Give your points to charities: If you just want to get rid of the books you have on hand, and are not interested in using the points you accumulate, then you can give the points to one of several charities they work with, including children’s hospitals.

Paper Back Swap

Paper Back Swap is a place to swap books, paper backs and hardcovers, audio books, text books, CDs and DVDs. They have a running total at the top of the page of how much members have saved, over buying used, how many books are available, and how many members are currently online.

Paper Back Swap’s search allows you to look for books via title, author, ISBN number or keyword. They also have an interactive browser on the front page, of hot topic books.

Getting books is based on a credit system. The first ten books you list earn you 2 credits. You can get one book per credit. When someone requests one of your books, you receive an email, and then go to the site to print out a wrapper for sending the book. As with BookMooch, you pay the shipping for the books you give away.


Bookins is a place to trade books and DVDs. The webs site provides shipping labels, with the correct postage, so that you don’t have to run to the post office. Unlike other sites, on Bookins, you pay for the books and disks you receive, at the going rate of $4.49 per item. Shipping things out is free. This may be the best site for just giving away what you have. They have a quality guarantee, so books you receive will be in good shape, and DVDs playable, or they will provide a refund.

With Bookins, the points system is based on the value of the books you are offering. More points are assigned for popular items and best sellers.

My Experience

Most of the rare books I have purchased have came through  I have always been pleased with the condition of the books and amazed at the prices.  I have also ordered used books through Just take a look, if you can't find what you want anywhere else.

Recently, I signed up with BookMooch.  I listed 15 books, and within the first 24 hours, three of them had been requested.  I chose to swap the books, instead of sell, because most of the titles I have are very common on the used market or unheard of paper backs.   For me, the option of being able to send for other's books, without having to price shop is worth the few cents my books might be worth.  Let a curious reader have them!

Ivorwen, 2009.

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    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      LiftedUp, I hope one of these places works out to be just what you are looking for.

    • LiftedUp profile image

      LiftedUp 7 years ago from Plains of Colorado

      Wow. Thanks for writing this, Ivorwen, I had no idea there were so many used book places online, though I have bought a number of books this way too.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Awesome, a fellow book worm!

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      Wow some awesome links I am a avid book worm, love to read.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      While there is much to be gleaned from the net, fiction is always going to be best when it can be held, carried and shared. I don't know too many young people, but the ones I do know all love books. Encyclopedias may go by the wayside, but even they are more fun in book form.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 8 years ago from south Florida

      Great information about sources for used books - thanks, ivorwen. I have a special affinity for books but fear that many young people don't read them enough - it's too easy to simply glean information from the Net.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      There are some books I would never willingly part with, and I have had regrets... I fact one of the books I requested last night is a copy of one I had given away several years ago. However, others I have simply have no use for anymore or disliked in the first place.

      Thanks for the question, Nicks.

    • profile image

      Nicks 8 years ago

      Actually, I rather think that the tough bit is parting with any book that one has read. Each time I have done it I have regretted it - as they become an essential part of life. Does anyone else feel the same way?

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Alekhouse, I look forward to a time when I will be able to read more! I picked up 7-9 books at a library sale this summer, and haven't had time to even look at them. Am only half through the one I began reading in May.

      Thank Scourtney!

    • scourtney profile image

      scourtney 8 years ago

      Love the article, a keeper!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Good advice. I always buy used books on line...have to...I'd be broke if I didn't. I buy a lot of books.